n. pl. mon·as·ter·ies
1. A community of persons, especially monks, bound by vows to a religious life and often living in partial or complete seclusion.
2. The dwelling place of such a community.
[Middle English monasterie, from Old French monastere, from Late Latin monastērium, from Late Greek monastērion, from Greek monazein, to live alone, from monos, alone; see men-4 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
mon′as·teri·al (mŏn′ə-stîrē-əl, -stĕr-) adj.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.